The rainy weather is keeping me from going to the marshes so I’m going to make the most of it by staying local and fishing for bass and bream. Oh, and I’ve been tying a few flies too. I’ve been venturing away from my deer hair bugs and I’ve been tying with foam lately to target bluegill.

So, this report will cover two morning fishing trips. One in my neighborhood lake and the other at my buddy’s private lake. The private lake is my go-to spot when I really want a quiet morning that us going to be 90% productive. So Monday, my body clock woke me up at 5:30 again and I walked my kayak a block-and-a-half to our neighborhood lake. I’m really blessed because we actually have two lakes that are adjacent to each other…separated by a small concrete dam. We call them the “upper” lake and the “lower” lake. To get a change of scenery, all I have to do is either fish the upper lake or the lower lake. I find that the upper lake, which is more shallow, provides a better fly fishing experience (mostly with poppers). The lower lake is deeper, it is much larger, and it has more numbers (and probably has larger fish). I have heard reports of local kids catching 8-pound bass in both lakes though, so there are probably big fish in both. However, I find that the bass can be more challenging to catch on flies in the lower lake. Well that theory went bust, if you read my previous post. I caught five nice bass in the lower lake.

I was wanting a change of scenery Monday, so I slipped my kayak in the water around 5:50 in the upper lake. I noticed that the shad were no longer spawning near the banks but I still had confidence that I could get a couple of takers on poppers. Much to my surprise, it was a very slow morning. I did catch a nice bluegill on a size 1/0 popper and two 12-inch bass.

This was a very ambitious eater!
Just under 12 inches
Right at 12

I decided to hop the levee and fish the lower lake, the one where I had success on the previous trip. I didn’t even manage a bite. All was quiet. My biggest catch of the morning was this. I always pick up any trash I find in the neighborhood lakes and dispose of it appropriately. Hard seltzer and Coors Light?? You’ve got to be kidding me! πŸ™‚

Does no one in my neighborhood drink good beer???

So fast forward a couple of mornings. I had the kayak loaded in the back of my truck and I was armed with two 5 wt rods; one with a deer hair popper (to imitate the crawfish the bass have been eating) and the other with a Musicdoc shad. I made the 35 minute run to my buddies lake and I slipped my kayak in the water just before 6 AM. Immediately, I saw some bait working the shoreline (spawning shad) and a few big swirls of fish feeding. After a few misguided casts, I finally was able to get a nice one to eat. It was a healthy 14-inch bass that I released. I had to work the shoreline pretty hard before I caught my next bass on the popper.

crawfish imitation deer hair popper worked on this 11-inch bass

My buddy has instructed me that if I want to continue to fish his lake, I have to harvest everything under 15-inches. He wants to make it a trophy lake. So, this little guy went on the stringer. I noticed that the herons and egrets (I wish I would have taken pictures because I saw at least 4 different species) were having a lot more success than me and were gorging themselves on the shad that were flittering and fluttering near the shore. I decided to switch to my rod with the shad streamer on it and I soon had a nice hookup.

This one ate the Musicdoc shad

I kept looking to see if I could identify a specific pattern. In previous trips, I’ve been able to sight fish for the bass by watching for them as they work in groups of two or three to “herd” baitfish up against the bank. I never saw that this morning. I did see an occasional single fish eat near the bank but by the time I paddled over there, it had most likely either moved or gotten its fill. It has been well documented that summertime bass fishing is tough. Large bass seem to know that they have to get a lot of bang for their buck. They need an easy meal, one that will fill them up so they don’t have to feed as aggressively throughout the hot day. I figured that was why I was only catching smaller fish. Most of the bass were in deeper water. I began to fish my shad fly about 10-15 feet from the bank and that’s where I had my most success.

Even this chunky bluegill was eating shad today.
Another one that ate the Musicdoc Shad

I managed to catch seven bass, which is normally a good morning. However, this lake usually produces double-digit numbers of bass for me. I decided to call it a morning around 9:30 and I headed home to get some work done for school. I did catch an 18-inch fish that had the mouth of a 4 -pound fish but the body of a 2-and-a-half pound fish. (I actually weighed it)

I did harvest six bass in all and I was surprised to see that all of them had empty stomachs. I guess the summer heat has them lethargic. Oh, well, you know what that means, right? More research! πŸ™‚

Tight loops and tight lines!

Happy Fourth of July. Catching new species on the Fly Rod.

Wow! We have already gone through the month of June and I haven’t added much to this blog. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been fishing…well not that much. I did manage one trip to Delacroix with a buddy of mine and I managed to catch two 21-inch redfish. Not a new species for me, but I had these two pictures I had to share. πŸ™‚

One of two redfish that I was able to actually land πŸ™‚
Pretty pumpkin color on these fish.

Now for the new species. For quite some time now, I’ve wondered why some fly fishermen travel hundreds of miles to remote areas to catch 5 and 6 inch trout. Some of these fish have names like Apache trout, Gila trout, etc. I get why they like fishing remote areas. I love people. I just don’t love having to share my fishing hole with bunches of them while I fish. As for new species, I recall the thrill I experienced three years ago when I caught my first Chicken Dolphin on the fly rod. I brought my 8 wt. with me on an offshore trip I made. You can read about it here. (https://kevinandry.wordpress.com/2018/07/02/redefining-the-word-epic/) But those fish were three-to-five-pound fish and they pulled hard. Well it’s taken three years since that trip for me to finally get got an opportunity to catch a new species on my fly rod..and while the fish were relatively small, the experience of catching a rare fish for the first time was totally cool. Last week, my family took a trip to the Texas hill/wine country to do some relaxing with my three beautiful grandchildren. We spent three days in a cabin on the Blanco River and I was able to “sneak” out with my fly rod one drizzly morning. I said, “sneak,” but I really had planned to do some fishing at least for a few hours one morning during this trip. I was having so much fun with my family, (I did mention Texas Wine country too so there was plenty wine consumed during this trip) that I didn’t feel the urge to wake up early without the grandkids and fish without them until the very last morning. To be perfectly honest though, the first two days I spent on the water with the grandkids provided me with opportunities to scout the area near our cabin for fish. We waded, swam with “floaties, and we even rented a kayak one morning to explore the area. By the third morning, I had a good idea what areas would be holding fish.

The morning I ventured out, the weather didn’t look too promising. There were lots of showers in the area and it was already drizzling. I knew this would be my last chance to fish the Blanco, so I wasn’t going to let a little rain keep me off the water. We had used all the ziplock bags for leftover food and such, so I had no way of keeping my phone dry and I definitely didn’t want to risk soaking it if I stepped into deep water (which I did) or if I slipped and fell (which I also did). So, I realized that any fish I did catch would not get photographed. I began the morning with a foam dry fly that a buddy of mine uses for trout and carp. I use the fly for big bluegill by my house and I figured I’d catch a few bluegill, and maybe a small bass or two on it. About five minutes into my fishing, I placed a perfect cast by a submerged log and I got a good eat from a feisty Rio Grande Cinchid. Although it wasn’t the first time I’ve caught a Rio, it was the first time I actually caught one in Texas.

This is what a typical Rio looks like. Mine was probably about 10 inches long, so I was quite pleased with myself.

My next species was a very small black bass. Not a new species either, but nevertheless, I was catching fish on a dry fly in the Blanco River. The next few fish I caught, however, were brand new to me. In fact, I had to look the species up on the internet to confirm what kind of sunfish it was. They were a type of sunfish called the red breast sunfish. This sunfish has a “long ear” but doesn’t have the beautiful coloration of the long ear. I also noted that the mouth on these little fish is quite large, somewhere between a regular bluegill and a warmouth (which we call goggle-eye in South Louisiana). I probably caught 8 or so of these fish which ranged from about 3 inches to maybe 7 inches for the biggest one.

Redbreast Sunfish

The most exciting new species for me, however, was the rare Guadalupe bass. I landed three of these little guys, with the largest one going about 11 inches or so. I’m so used to catching largemouth bass, the coloration of these guys caught me by surprise at first. I had read about people catching this subspecies of bass so I kind of had an idea there were a few of them in the Blanco. Plus, I had seen a couple large ones (probably 1.5-2 lbs) when I was in the kayak the previous day. The water was so clear, it was obvious they weren’t largemouth bass.

Here is a photo of a Guadalupe

I don’t know if I’ll ever find myself chasing Apache trout or Gila trout, but I can check the Guadalupe bass and the red breast sunfish off my bucket list. I have to invest in a waterproof phone protector because I don’t have any real “photo” evidence from this trip but there is a silver lining to this. We found a great winery in Fredericksburg and my daughter and her husband joined their wine club, so we have an excuse to go back soon…YES!!!

Now that we are in the thick of sweat-fest 2021, and the summer thunderstorm pattern has developed, I’ll probably have to limit my fishing to early morning jaunts out to local ponds and lakes. If the weather looks like it will be conducive to sight-fishing, however, I’ll probably head to my beloved South Louisiana marshes to chase the “spot-tailed Elvis,” as a good friend of mine calls him.

Happy Fourth of July! Tight loops and tight lines to you all.

The Neighborhood Lakes, Revisited πŸ™‚

Based on the fact that my last post here was a “revisited” post, and we’ve had all this rain lately, I did want to share a small story about the benefits of this rain during the months of April, May, and early June. During those months, the shad in the neighborhood lakes begin to spawn. They look for floating debris (weeds), foam, and shoreline and they do their “morning dance,” as I call it every morning from about a half hour before sunup right to sunrise. When the rains come and the water overflows from the upper lake, over the dam, to the lower lake, the morning bite can be spectacular! It’s nothing to see over a thousand shad “fluttering” by the bank edges, but they especially like the moving water and the foam it creates as it cascades over the man-made dam. When this happens, one gets to witness the feeding frenzy that the bass and sacalait have for one special half hour in the wee wee hours of the morning.

I made the 6-minute walk a couple days last week and I was treated to this special phenomenon…and a few fish. All fish were caught on my shad-fly, which I think I have finally perfected. One morning I caught 5 sacalait and three nice bass. The very next morning, I caught 3 sacalait and three bass. The bass were all released back into the lakes. The sacalait will be released into a skillet of hot grease very soon. πŸ™‚

School is out. Time to get down to the SELA marsh.

I have been looking for a chance to get down to my beloved Southeast Louisiana marsh to do some fishing for (as a good friend of mine calls him)the spot-tail Elvis, also known as poisson rouge. It seems nothing has worked out for me between my busy schedule and the all-important, weather. We have been experiencing flash flooding and other crazy weather phenomena. So, in the meantime, I keep my fishing obsession in check by going to my neighborhood lakes and chasing the fish by the dam after a heavy rain. My best morning was a 40-minute trip where I caught 5 bass and 3 slab sacalait

It’s really something with the sacalait are almost as big as my kayak paddles.

I also made a few trips to my friends private lake and had a blast trying different variations of deer hair poppers on the bass and bream.

I found out they were chasing crawfish in the shallows. Thus the crawfish patterned popper.
This one is from the neighborhood lake.
Even the bream were chasing crawfish-colored patterns.
Big bull bream fight like nothing else for their size!

So, when I finally got a break in the weather and I was off of school, I decided to join my brother for a trip down Highway 1 toward Grand Isle. The wind was forecast to blow 5-10 and for once, the weatherman got it right. However, (and I HATE the “howevers”) we found the water to be high and very dirty. That meant our plans for sight fishing would probably have to be scrapped. I went the entire morning without even seeing a single redfish. Then, around noon, I finally saw an upper-slot redfish in the murky water. Of course it was about two feet from the bow of my kayak and when I was able to grab my rod, it nearly bumped into my kayak and took off. I was able to catch a small trout in some moving water, so at least my trip wouldn’t be a total skunk.

I knew where some water with grass would be so I paddled to a few spots in search of clear water and some action. A little after noon, I spotted a very nice sized sheepshead, AKA, the cajun permit. These fish are a challenge on the fly rod and in my experience, they don’t chase down too many patterns. One has to really entice them to eat by putting the fly right in front of its nose without spooking it. This fish was cruising the bank looking to grab a snail or two off the stalks of the marsh grass. I probably made 10 or so casts with one of my shrimp patterns before it finally decided it had seen enough and this invader to its domain should get sucked into those humanlike teeth. Bam! Perfect hook set and the fight was on until it got caught in some grass. A short time later, I was posing with a nice cajun convict.

Posing with my first cajun permit of the year.

A short time after, I saw a healthy redfish cruising that clear water too. I was going to be heading to Houston in the morning to spend time with my wife (who was already there) and my daughter’s family (three grandchildren). I was given instructions to bring a fresh redfish to be baked in my wife’s red gravy. My heart started racing when I saw that redfish! I told myself to FOCUS and remain calm…my first cast…horrible…my second cast…the darned redfish had just changed directions…my third cast…the CHARM! I watched a perfect eat in that clear water. When I set the hook, the redfish turned in an angry burst of water and weeds and just like that, my spoon fly came flying back at me. I was totally dejected. I couldn’t figure out what I did wrong. That is, until I got a closer look at my spoon fly. The doggone redfish actually snapped my hook in half. The fly was dangling by the little bit of epoxy that held it together.

It’s blurry but you can see that hook broke at the base of the “spoon”

I was not ready to give up yet. I saw one more redfish and I kept poling through the marsh trying to get it to eat. It didn’t want to have anything to do with any of my offerings and I figured it was the same redfish I had hooked earlier, so I moved on. Then I saw another pair of sheepshead. Again, I had to make several “offerings” to the fish before it decided to eat my shrimp fly.

This one was actually bigger than the first

Having landed two nice-sized sheepshead and running out of options for clear water, I decided we were going to have to find another fish option in Houston with my grandkids. I headed home with a big smile on my face though. I had caught and released not one, but two “cajun permit.” There will be more chances to face Mr. Redfish later this summer πŸ™‚

I’ll close this post with a humorous short, unedited video of me trying to get that second sheepshead up for a picture. πŸ™‚

2020 My year in review…let’s focus on the positive.

We all know that 2020 was a heck of a year that many of us would like to forget. With a worldwide pandemic, a crazy political election, violence in our streets, and yes, a record number of named tropical storms, it would be easy to say, “let’s flush 2020 down the toilet.” However, those of you that know me know that I very seldom focus on negative things that bring us down and I want this last post of 2020 to be a “2020…In your face” kind of post. Just a warning…it’s going to be long πŸ™‚

So 2020 started off with the one year birthday in January of my grandson, Benson. This little boy is a riot! He loves the outdoors, he loves cleaning and blowing leaves. I can’t wait for him to be big enough to get in a kayak with his Poppy.

As the pandemic slowly made its way to the United States, my family took time to get out and do some things before the country shut down. We enjoyed Mardi Gras in Thibodaux

Hosted an engagement party for my son and his fiancΓ©.

And Nanna was able to get out to DisneyWorld with our granddaughter before it closed down.

My daughter and my granddaughter pose in front of Cinderella’s Castle shortly before DisneyWorld shut down.
Lisa and I bought bikes and began riding nearly every day.

We enjoyed social distancing meals in our front yard, and my siblings discovered Zoom meetings.

Family zoom meetings became a weekly thing
Socially distanced meals in the front yard.

My grandchildren kept growing and we looked forward to FaceTime meetings and pictures sent from my daughter. In October, my son married the love of his life and we are enjoying our daughter-in-law.

My son got married and we welcomed Jessica to the family.

Well, this is my fishing blog…so let’s get to the fishing!!

The fishing year-in-review actually begins on New Year’s Eve with a trip I made with Chuck, “Snakedoctor,” to the Pearl River area where we caught some small white bass on flies.

The bass fishing in early January was surprisingly good in the neighborhood lake.

The fishing really heated up for me in March when our school went on lockdown. My idea of social distancing was in a kayak, far from anyone who would give me the virus. Also, by handling fresh fish, I figured I was strengthening my immune system πŸ™‚

Sacalait in March
Bass in March
More sacalait in April
A pretty pumpkin also in April
The bass were still hungry in May
They were eating frog poppers in June
It was hard to get to the marsh in July with all the tropical activity so I just kept on playing with the bass
THIS is why I chose to stay close to home this summer!
So I kept on fishing bass in August
and September
I was able to get out in October the weekend before my son’s wedding
In November, I was instructed to harvest a few for a fish fry.
And I closed out the year in December with a fat speckled trout.

I was able to spend a lot of time on my vise and I tried to get more creative with my flies. All our conclaves got cancelled but I still got to do some deer work.

I started celebrating some of my local high school, college, and major league baseball teams too.

National Champs
The Padres and the Phillies

I also began thinking more about “matching the hatch” on what the fish were eating around here. I came up with the musicdoc shad, a streamer to try to match the shad the bass feed on in my local neighborhood lake.

Musicdoc Shad

I also tied a variation of a shrimp/charlie pattern that I hoped would get the sheepshead and redfish’s attention.

Musicdoc shrimp

I think I’m most proud of this recent fly, which uses duck flank feathers to imitate the scales on a sheepshead minnow that I call the Musicdoc Butterbean.

So, you can see that 2020 was actually a good year. I am thankful for my health, my family, and the great resources we have in Louisiana that help to relieve the stresses that the year brought us. I look forward to what the coming year will bring in sportsman’s paradise and I look forward to being able to document and share it with those who are willing to read my blog. Happy New Year!

Matching the hatch in Southeast Louisiana, the Musicdoc Butterbean

When I was a younger man, we would fish the marshes and bays of the southeast Louisiana coast during the winter time and we would catch our own live minnows to use for bait. We would use the traditional live cache minnows but we noticed a special, smaller minnow that was a particular “food favorite” of the speckled trout when we cleaned them. The closest thing I’ve found on the internet to this small minnow is the sheepshead minnow. All I know is, they were small, plump, and the trout loved them. We called them “butter beans.”

Earlier this fall, I made a few trips down to the marsh and I caught lots of small trout. I did manage to harvest a few that were in the 13-15 inch range and when I cleaned them, there they were…the butter beans! So, I set out to “match the hatch” and here’s what I came up with

Here is a ‘dry’ version of it.
I think it even looks better when wet.

My goal was to develop a fly that looked like the real thing that could be fished under a VOSI or free swimmed. I tossed a few of my early tries in the pool and saw that the fly nearly floated. So, I came up with a version that has about 13-15 turns of .025 lead wraps and I think I’ve come up with a winner.

For the hook, I use a size 2 Eagle Claw salt water hook that I bend with a needle nosed pliers just a bit to open up the hook gap.

For the rest of the fly I use:

size .025 lead wire
white 210 denier thread
white bucktail
pearl estaz
ice wing fiber (pearl)
mallard (could use teal or even wood duck) flank feathers
antron dubbing (I used a mix of brown and olive for the top and a cream/yellow for the underbelly – also a red to mimic gills
eyes of your choice

After you’ve widened the hook gap, add about 13-15 wraps of the lead wire and secure it with wraps of thread.


Then add a small pinch of white bucktail.

I add about a hook length of bucktail
Next comes the pearl estate chenille.

Tie in ice wing fiber on the top and bottom of the fly. I do this twice
Add a small bit of fire red antron dubbing to imitate gills and a blood line

Here’s the part that really makes this fly look like a baitfish…tie in a duck flank feather to each side

Notice how the iridescent colors show through the duck feather.

Then I mix olive and brown antron dubbing to form the top of the minnow.

I tie two sets on top and the underbelly
I use an old toothbrush to “brush” out my feathers.

Use some head cement on your wraps and then I use FabricFuse to glue my eyes in

And there you have it…the Musicdoc Butterbean. Now that I’m through with exams, I’ll be giving this pattern some more “research.” Stay tuned to see how that research turns out πŸ™‚

Making Lemonade

Making Lemonade

2020 has been a doozy of a year. Covid-19, crazy politics, record tropical season, and more. But through it all, we have learned that family is more important than anything and when life does give you lemons, you definitely have to make lemonade…or lemon meringue pie.

It’s my favorite time of the year to fish the South Louisiana coast and I was blessed to be able to find some good conditions to fish (see my previous post) a week before my son’s wedding. After the wedding, I put a self-imposed quarantine on myself to pretty much stay away from family and friends. The good news is, no one reportedly caught the virus by attending the wedding. The great news is, my version of quarantining includes lots of fishing. πŸ™‚

So, the week after the wedding I chose to do my local pond fishing because the winds were going to be too rough for another Leeville trip. Add to that, Hurricane Zeta ripped through there and they are still without electricity 10 days after the storm passed through there. I was treated to a beautiful morning and the fish seemed to like the cooler temperatures so they were eating what I had to offer them.

Here is the first on of the morning. It ate a fire tiger deer hair diver.
Another hungry bass
It’s great to be able to fish a well-managed pond. It was definitely a stress relieving morning.

I normally don’t keep bass but the owner of the lake insisted I harvest bass under 15 inches for pond management. Additionally, my family loves fish tacos πŸ™‚
This bass loved the LSU diver.

So, another week goes by and I’m looking forward to heading to the Southeast Louisiana marsh for some speckled trout and redfish. The wind was predicted to blow 10-15 mph on Saturday but it showed signs of improvement for Sunday morning. I checked my gear and realized that somehow, I had lost my YakAttack parkNpole, which meant push poling for redfish would be a bit of a challenge. However, it was predicted to be cloudy in advance of a cool front so I figured I would just try to focus on speckled trout.

I began the morning with a popper/dropper rig (deer-hair popper with a Lafleur’s Charlie on the bottom).

I got a lot of hits on the bottom fly and pretty soon I was having a blast, catching small trout on nearly every cast. There were also periods when I was getting blowups on the popper but I was having usual difficulties hooking those small trout. Speckled trout are notorious for snapping at bait to kill or would it with their three larger teeth and then go back to eat their prey. I did land a couple 11 inch trout on the popper before something big broke off my bottom fly. I decided to go with my typical VOSI (Vertical Oriented Strike Indicator) setup for the remainder of the day.

I would conservatively estimate I caught about 100 trout that day. Most were 8-11 inches long so they were gently and quickly released back into the water. I did have one monster trout that I estimated to be over 20 inches that got off the hook right as I was about to net it. What a bummer, but something I could overlook anyway, considering all the fun I was having.

I actually was getting tired of catching “undersized” fish around noon and since the action slowed a bit, I took advantage of the bright sunshine and decided to paddle out to some broken marsh in search of redfish. The tide had been falling all morning long and the water inside the marsh was noticeably muddy. I did end up on a stretch where the water seemed clearer and I could see bottom. That’s when I saw a large slot (or baby bull) red as is slowly cruised the flat. I grabbed the only rod that I had available to me at the time, which was set up for speckled trout. It worked perfectly three weeks ago so I assumed I would be able to cast to the redfish and swim the VOSI and my fly right past the fish without spooking it and get it to eat. Well the redfish swam into some deeper water and I lost if for a second so I cast in the area where I had seen it last. Then it came out of the deeper water and was heading right toward me and was about 12 feet in front of my kayak. My fly was about 10 feet behind the fish so rather than pick my fly up and cast it again, which I figured would certainly spook the fish, I stripped it fast to get it out in front of the approaching redfish.

IT WAS A TEXTBOOK EAT!! With one large rush of its tail, the redfish flared its gills and gulped my…uh…??? My VOSI??? Oh no! There’s no hook in that thing! It’s just a cork! So a big redfish has just swallowed my cork and is now cruising to the right of my kayak. I think it has seen the kayak and it suspects something isn’t right, so it gradually picks up speed. In the meantime, I didn’t know what to do. I knew grabbing my other rod, which was laying on the ground behind where I was standing to throw it another fly would not be an option, so I just stood there and did nothing. πŸ™‚ I watched as the redfish swam away with my cork in its mouth and my fly (you know… the one with the all-important hook in it) trailing behind. I watched the rod tip bend and I thought to myself, there’s no way this is going to end well. However, it didn’t end badly either. As the fish realized that something wasn’t right, it spit my cork out and it took off, leaving a mud boil in its wake. I thought it would have destroyed the cork but it didn’t and I actually used it to catch about 30 more trout that day. I did switch rods and I poled around some more “fishy” areas but I never saw another redfish. I got bored with that and I decided to head toward some diving gulls. I immediately got back on the trout bite and spent the last hour of my trip catching fish on nearly every cast!

Other than the dirty water (which meant no redfish), the trip was a perfect day. I was able to take my Musicdoc limit (18) of speckled trout home to share with my mom and dad, and for a fish fry soon with my family. Typically, the larger trout show up in the next week or two, but with all the hurricanes we have had to endure this season, only God knows. In a way, I’m glad the fish were nearly all undersized. If they had all been keeper trout, I would have been finished by 8 AM and I most likely wouldn’t have been able to laugh at that crazy redfish for eating my cork.

This 15-inch trout definitely made the “team.”

Fall in Southeast Louisiana

Can 2020 be over? Just over? We are now looking at our 7th named stormed to hit our coast this season! Whew…

I had to get that off my chest. Now, to the fishing. I caught a break this past Sunday and I slipped my kayak into the beautiful marsh, of my beloved Southeast Louisiana. The weather man had predicted winds of 5 – 10 and sunshine. Well, like I said earlier, it’s 2020 and you didn’t think the weather man was going to get it right, did you? The wind was blowing 10 – 15 for most of the morning and the clouds didn’t break until probably 11:30.

I got there at the break of dawn and I began throwing a deer hair popper. I got a couple small blowups early on and I realized they were probably small trout. I had told myself that it wasn’t going to be a “meat” trip; that I just wanted to catch fish…and that’s what I did. I changed rods and started throwing a Lafleur’s Charlie under a V.O.S.I. I started with some very small trout and I ended up catching 5 different species Sunday. Speckled trout, white trout (sand trout), gaff-top catfish, hard-head catfish, and redfish.

First Speckled trout of the day was small but very pretty.

Even though the wind blew hard, and the water wasn’t very clean, I was able to pretty much catch fish non-stop. My second fish was a small sand trout (most people down here call them white trout but these very small ones are probably sand trout…or so I’ve been told).

Small sand trout on the Lafleur’s Charlie.

The trout started to get a little bit larger

A little bit larger

And I caught a few that were 13 inches or better, so they got put on ice for the fish tacos Monday evening. Then I caught a slimy gaff-top catfish.

I even caught my personal best for the year, a 16-and-a-half inch speckled trout.

16.5 inch trout on the fly rod.

I probably caught about 50 trout and I had a dozen in my ice chest that “made the team” for my Monday evening fish tacos when I decided it was getting time to head in. By about noon, the sun was starting to come out and the wind was dying down. The tide had been slowly falling all morning and I thought I would check a shallow flat that was about 30 yards behind where I was fishing. I looked on the lee side of the point and I noticed a few swirls that probably meant there was bait in the area. I push poled my way over there and that’s when I spied a large slot redfish slowly cruising the edge of the marsh grass. I grabbed my fly rod and realized all I had on there was my speckled trout rig, which was a chartreuse charlie under a small VOSI (vertical oriented strike indicator).

I was afraid I was going to spook the fish with my tiny cork so I made sure my initial cast was about two feet out in front of the fish. I slowly stripped my cork out ahead of the fish and I “dragged” my fly within sight of the fish. I watched it slowly change directions and start following the fly. My heartbeat started racing when I saw it decided it was going to ambush it from behind….patience…patience… watch it! It then flared its gills and when they closed…BAM I strip set the hook home in the top of its mouth. Within seconds, the fish was on my reel and then about 20 seconds later, it was into my backing! I was careful not to try to turn it too early, but there was a big pvc pipe with barnacles on it nearby and I was not about to have it cut me off. Sometime between 7 and 10 minutes later, I was netting a “baby bull” at 27 inches.

This fish was released to go make babies.

As I sit here and watch the weather, I know that the road I take to my fishing spot will be under water for the 7th time this year, as hurricane/tropical storm Zeta heads right to Grand Isle. I am thankful that I was able to get out this past weekend and I hope the storm doesn’t mess up our marsh too much. We have lost so much and there is evidence that we have lost even more due to the previous six storms this year. It’s all good though. I love the fall in south Louisiana and I expect to have a few more good trips before Christmas. Tight loops and tight lines πŸ™‚

27 inch redfish. Notice the sun had finally come out.
16.5 inch Speckled trout. Clouds and wind made things difficult at times.

Another Beautiful Evening on God’s Wonderful Planet :)

God has blessed us with so much, it’s sometimes easy to take the small things for granted. After school today, I had one of my high school fly fishing club meetings. We talked about purchasing a new combo and those who had combos, brought them to practice our casting. When I dismissed everyone I had an itching to get on some water so I slipped my “yellow submarine” into our neighborhood lake for some quiet time. Who says we don’t have fall colors in Louisiana?

Click on the picture and get a closeup of those pretty red leaves!

About five minutes after I snapped that picture, I received a Facetime call from my wife and my two grandchildren (ages 3-and 3/4 and a 1 and 3/4). She had taken a surprise trip to Houston to see them. I proceeded to paddle to a spot where I know I can catch a few bream and nearly call my shots, so I had to show off in front of them. I was able to catch three small but beautiful bream with my phone in one hand and my fly rod in the other. It was awesome to hear them shout, Poppie! Poppie!

After I hung up with them, it was time to look for something that would put a good bend in my fly rod. I haven’t fished in my yellow submarine (Wilderness System Tarpon 120) in a while and I forgot just how effortlessly it glides through the water…almost too easily because as I cast and began stripping line, the kayak would still be moving and that cost me my first big bass. I wasn’t able to get a good hook set in it and it easily spit my fly out after a very short fight.

15 minutes later, I was in a similar situation but this time I had no slack in my line and I sent the hook home…or so I thought. This one broke my tippet. You can imagine my frustration with having lost two fish back-to-back. I was getting ready to tie on another deer hair popper when I spied my old one floating on the water. I retrieved it to see that the fish had broke it right above my loop knot. The know wasn’t the problem πŸ™‚ I tied it back on and fifteen minutes later, I landed my first bass of the evening.

This hungry bass couldn’t resist the deer hair diver.

I took a quick picture, released it and a few casts later, I landed another one that was just a bit larger.

It was getting dark when this one ate my diver.

It’s always cool when you catch one while another fisherman is staring at you from the bank. Anyway, I had had enough for one evening. I did have some work to do at home. Before I go though, I wanted to post a closeup of that fly of the evening. In this photo, you can see the details and intricacies that go into these Deer-hair bugs. Notice the wispy marabou feathers in the tail section and the subtle flash. I think I’ll fish this pattern again very soon.

Closeup of my Deerhair bug

Getting the Skunk Smell Off

Getting the Skunk Smell Off

Two weeks ago, I ventured down to the southeast Louisiana marsh to do some sight-fishing for redfish. The trip was a feudal attempt by my standards and I ended up with a big fat skunk. A couple of days later, I rode my bike to a neighborhood pond and I broke my jinx by catching some bream off the bank.

Fast forward to this morning when I put my kayak in the back of the truck and headed to “Old Faithful,” a private pond owned by one of my former band dads. This large pond/small lake rarely disappoints and this morning was no exception. I arrived right at first light and paddled to some of my favorite spots. The morning began with the bream feeding on top. I was tossing a tan-colored attractant and I caught 10 fat bream in about 10 minutes on my 3 wt. I then saw some big swirls on the bank and I changed to a 5 wt. and a small deer-hair frog imitation. I managed two pretty bass right away and then I saw a nice commotion over by a tree that had fallen in the lake a few months ago during a storm. It seemed the bass were trying to catch the dragon flies that were flying around the structure. I proceeded to land my largest bass of the morning, a 19-inch beauty that probably weighed close to 4 pounds.

Big fish of the day- a tad bit over 19 inches and probably close to 4 lbs. I can’t find my digital scale 😦

I was able to pick up a few more in that spot before moving on down the bank. Although it’s been hot down here, I think there has been some slight thermal cooling going on and the bass were hugging the bank looking for something to jump in the water. That little deer-hair frog pattern did the trick for me and I landed 15 bass on it before a greedy one broke my tippet.

You can see the frog legs on the bug (Pat Cohen’s frog legs)

I got all of them back in the water quickly so they wouldn’t be stressed. This one lost a little blood but it swam away very vigorously when I released it.

After I lost my deer-hair bug, I tried on one of my double-barrel frog imitations and I caught three more to round off my morning.

The trip was a great way to wash off the “skunk” from my trip down south two weeks ago. It, however, was a costly one for me because I lost my wallet to Davy Jones’ Locker. I had put it in my front pants pocket and it must have fallen out and into the lake at some point during the fishing. I’m not looking forward to having to go to the Office of Motor Vehicles to get a new driver’s license. Oh well, catching 10 bream and 17 bass kind of takes the sting out of it.